Youth group Anakbayan along with PhilHealth members today called on the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) to disqualify Liberal Party senatorial bet Risa Hontiveros for using government funds for her campaign and “plundering” PhilHealth funds.
In a statement, Anakbayan national chairperson Vencer Crisostomo said PhilHealth members sent photos posted by supporters of Hontiveros themselves which showed her campaign distributing PhilHealth IDs in exchange of votes. One of the photos of her supporters posted on Facebook had a caption saying “PhilHealth MDRs and IDs distribution and registration with Risa Hontiveros and Akbayan Partylist.”
The post was dated February 11, which covered the campaign period.
“This is an illegal act. It is clearly vote-buying and using gov’t resources for personal gain,” said Crisostomo citing Section 261 of the Omnibus Election Code of the Philippines, which prohibits vote buying and use of public funds for an election campaign.
He said Hontiveros likewise used the funds of PhilHealth for pre-campaign in bus ads, TV ads radio ads. Each 30-second TV ad costs more than P800,000.
“Hontiveros has no background in health care, she was obviously appointed last-minute in PhilHealth just to use the agency as platform for her campaign. This is despicable, knowing fully well that many Filipinos are deprived of funds for proper healthcare, here we have a PhilHealth chief spending millions of pesos for her personal gain. Many PhilHealth members are appalled,” he said.
He said Hontiveros’party Akbayan is also using their positions in government as platform for campaign. Among the Akbayan leaders in government are Joel Rocamora, Ronald Llamas while Akbayan Rep. Barry Guittierez is Mar Roxas spokesman. The donors of Hontiveros and Akbayan in 2010 include Kris Aquino, Ballsy Aquino which amounted a whopping P112 M.
“Akbayan and Hontiveros while pretending to be activist, is clearly a corrupt party. They should be junked. Comelec shoud disqualify Hontiveros,” he said.